Friday, October 27, 2006

Westward ho!

Le Vacation: Part Deux

After much hassle at Avis in Versailles, we were finally on our Westward way to the Liore Valley. More specifically, to Amboise where we were staying. Getting to Amboise wasn't a problem, as it was signposted quite well on the highways. Getting to Le Manoir St. Thomas was not so easy. After many wrong turns, missed turns, rainshowers, and one way streets, this was a welcome sight.

After settling in and hanging up all my cream cardies, we headed out for a bite to eat at this little creperie. I had, well, a crepe, duh. And Jason had a massive steaming pot of mussels.

I've wanted Louis Vuitton luggage for a long time. Lucky me! I now have a full set of bags right there under my eyes! Give me a break. I had been reading maps and roadsigns in the dark for like a trillion miles or something.

The next morning we were able to get a look at our hotel in the daylight. That's our room windows there to the right of the bottom of the round tower. The building dates back to the 1100's. Yup, you read correctly. I said the 1100's. Woah.

And the lovely gardens...

Lookie there at that handsome fella. Walking up to the chateau at Chenonceau...

The chateau.

On the bridge that crosses over the moat surrounding the chateau:

The beautiful view of the Cher River which the chateau sits on. And I mean literally sits on. The great hall of the building is actually a "bridge" over the river.

It cracked me up that they offered iPod audio tours. Very progressive for such an old building.

A doorway leading out of the wine cellar and tasting room.

Me sitting in said doorway.

Jason having a "degustation de vin" - that's wine tasting en Francais.

The 16th century farm on the chateau grounds.

Has anyone seen Jason?? He was just right here... I know I left him around here somewhere...

Nothing says "Autumn" like pumpkins and gourds.

On our walk to find somewhere to eat lunch.

Check it out. Even the French birds hate Americans. (I kid, I kid...)

This was at a winery we visited for a tasting. Truth be told, the wine rocked my socks off but I was more smitten with their kitten. His name was Sauvignon. While I was busy playing with him, Jason bought six bottles of wine. I have to start watching him more closely.

At dinner that evening at a great place called L'Epicerie. Jason had escargot for his starter. Gag.

I've become more adventurous with food since moving to Europe but I still can't get past the whole snails thing. I just think of the slugs that come out when it rains.

On our way to Tours, we saw this sign on the road. So, basically, we were driving along with the possibility of a wild boar crossing the road at any minute. Ummm, hello? Totally awesome! I was really disappointed that we never laid eyes on one.

Jason becamse obsessed with this freaking bee on this freaking flower we saw in this freaking garden.

The cathedral in Tours.... As seen from the freaking garden.

And up freaking close.

Some of the stained glass inside the cathedral.

Remember our friend Cheddar? (If not, see September 17th and October 2nd entries.) Well, you'll be happy to know that he made it all the way to France and has become a break-out star in the modeling industry and is performing under the name "Fromage"!

After leaving Tours, we made our way to the chateau at Azay-le-Rideau. My audio tour commentary was clearly gripping.

Jason said it amuses him how I can go from a "performance shot" (see above) to looking angelic (his word, not mine) in under two minutes.

I can't think of anything clever to say about this. It's Jason by a window. That's pretty much it. There you have it. You are astounded by my cleverness, no?

Here we are in Samur, with it's haunted castle. Maybe it's not really haunted. But maybe it is. It was awfully creepy looking and a massive wind storm kicked up put of nowhere like some kind of signal to leave. I wasn't sticking around to find out for sure about the haunted thing. That's my "Oooooooh, spooooooky..." face.

I'm not really sure why he was doing this. Rest assured it was funny at the time. Too bad you weren't there...

Back behind the wheel of the Benzie to get the hell out of haunted dodge.

A quiet street in Amboise.

The next day we went to the chateau at Chambord. This is a cool pic Jason took of the stone spiral staircase that dominates the center of the interior.

The beautiful view of the chateau grounds from the top of the chateau. Chateau chateau chateau. I just want to say the word chateau a lot. How many times do you think I can say the word chateau in this caption? Did you say 7? Ha! You're wrong! Chateau!

They had this special thing set up (I reckon because it's close to Halloween) in this room and it was dark and had shadows moving all over the room and the sound of dogs howling and whatnot. Me no likey.

Detail of the tops of the spires? turrets? towers? pointy thingies? I'm going with pointy thingies.

Peek-a boo, I see you.

Some shots of the grounds.

The happy couple...

I just thought this looked cool with the bright blue car and the red foilage behind it.

Jason with all the wine we bought.

Well, we couldn't carry it ALL back to London. We had to get rid of it somehow. I was happy to help.

The last day... The last chateau... This is on the grounds of the chateau in Amboise where we stayed. It's believed that Leonardo Da Vinci is buried here.

Tres windy! Wind is not a good look for me.

Some pics of the grounds.

This was my "Garden State moment". I wanted to do something that no one else anywhere else was doing at that moment. So I pirouetted in front of a chateau. (Maybe that's not a pirouette. I'm not a ballerina so I don't really know. You're shocked at the startling revelation that I am NOT, in fact, a ballerina, no?)

So there you have it. Vacation over. Now go on. Get out of here. Scram.


Aisby said...

I'm so jealous. This looks like the ULTIMATE vacation.

I've been reading your blog for a while, and finally just posted yesterday. I should have left a comment before, because I really love your blog.

Beth said...

That gourd picture is too funny. It's a keeper!

Monique said...

WOW fantastic photos! What a gorgeous place!!

Heather said...

I condensed thins dow from two separate posts to one and I wanted to transfer the comments from the other one so here they are:

At 9:26 AM, Monique said…

LOL! Great pics:)

At 10:39 AM, Calamity Tat said…

That's one freaking Cathedral you have there, and how many freaking photos, you must have the patience of a saint to upload all those, they're great by the way....

At 11:46 AM, The very nice man said…

Beautiful pictures once again, Heather!
I used to live in Paris and those shots sure brought back memories!

At 3:29 PM, SkylarKD said…

I wanna go to Europe!!!

Beautiful pictures, and it looks like you had a fantastic time! :)

At 5:38 PM, Beth said…

Love the scarf! And all of the photos, of course.

At 5:42 PM, Aisby said…

Can you feel the jealousy eminating from my direction? I LOVE the performance shot by the way.

At 3:02 PM, Heather said…

Thanks everybody :-)

Oh and Beth - that scarf is a prized possession. It's my very first designer accessory ever - Burberry. Jason brought it back from London for me the first time he went. He's such a smart boy and knew not to get the chav-tastic Nova-check!